Strong decline in coal consumption in the EU.
After two years of recovery, global coal consumption declined again in 2019 (-2.6%). Public and private climate policies, combined with competition from cheaper gas-fired and renewable power generation have accelerated the closure of many coal-fired power plants and resulted in dramatic cuts in coal consumption in the EU (-18%, including significant drops in Germany, Poland and Spain) and in the USA (-12%, where nearly 14 GW of coal-fired power capacity was retired in 2019).
Coal consumption grew by 1% in China, which accounts for half of the global coal demand. The Chinese government aims at substituting coal use with gas and renewables but the coal-to-gas conversion policy relaxed in 2019.
In India, the second largest coal consumer worldwide, coal consumption declined by 3.4%, due to higher hydropower and renewable generation that cut coal needs in the power sector.
Coal consumption slowed down in Indonesia (+8.9%, i.e. half its 2018 growth), and decreased in South Korea and Japan, due to a lower demand from the power sector (reduced electricity consumption, nuclear competition, and air pollution constraints).
It also slowed down in large coal producing countries such as Russia (coal-to-gas switch in the power sector) and South Africa (reduced operations at coal-fired power plants due to technical issues) and even contracted in Australia and Turkey.
According to the Spanish wind association Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE), Spain’s installed wind capacity increased by 1,720 MW in 2020 and reached 27,446 MW at the end of 2020. In 2020, the autonomous communities with the largest wind capacity additions were Aragón (+1,051 MW to 4,159 MW), followed by Navarra (+263 MW to 1,302 MW), Castilla y León (+216 MW to 6,300 MW), Castilla La Mancha (+65 MW to 3,885 MW), Canary Islands (+29 MW to 450 MW), Andalusia (+24 MW to 3,478 MW) and Galicia (+24 MW to 3,829 MW). In total, there are 1,267 wind farms in Spain, with 21,431 installed wind turbines and wind power accounted for 21.9% of the electricity consumed in 2020.
According to the French Renewable Energy Association, France’s installed renewable capacity, including hydropower, increased by more than 2 GW in 2020 (+1,105 MW of wind and +820 MW of solar) and reached 55.9 GW at the end of 2020. Hydropower capacity accounting for over half of the capacity, with 25.7 GW, followed by wind (17.6 GW), solar (10.4 GW) and bio-energies (2.2 GW). Renewable accounted for 26.9% of electricity consumption in mainland France in 2020, compared to 23.1% in 2019. This increase is due to a higher renewable production of 120.7 TWh (+10.4% compared to 2019) and to a lower electricity consumption due to the public health situation.
According to the Brazilian wind association ABEEólica, Brazil had 17.7 GW of installed wind capacity at the end of 2020 (up from 928 MW at the end of 2010), with 695 wind power plants and more than 8,300 wind turbines. In 2020, Brazil installed nearly 2.3 GW of wind capacity. Most of Brazil’s installed wind capacity is located in Nordeste, with, most notably, 5.2 GW in Rio Grande do Norte, 4.9 GW in Bahia, 2.3 GW in Piauí and 2.2 GW in Ceará.
ABEEólica expects the Brazilian wind capacity to increase by nearly 11 GW by 2024, when it should reach 28.7 GW.
According to the Irish wind association Wind Energy Ireland, wind power generation increased by 13% to over 10.7 TWh in 2020 and accounted for 36.3% of electricity demand in Ireland. Eight new wind plants were connected with a combined capacity of 135 MW, raising the installed wind capacity to 4,255 MW at the end of 2020. In addition, the authorities confirmed planning permissions for seven new wind power plants with a total capacity of 307 MW.